Relatives report dramatic conditions in a Berlin nursing home
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Relatives report dramatic conditions in a Berlin nursing home

Operator Domicil under criticism

Relatives report dramatic conditions in a Berlin nursing home

Mon 04/29/24 | 08:38 am | From Christina Fee Möbus and Andrea Everwien

Symbolic image: The lettering is on the building "Domicile senior care home".  (Source: dpa/Christophe Gateau)

dpa/Christophe Gateau

Video: rbb24 Abendschau | April 29, 2024 | A. Everwien | Picture: dpa/Christophe Gateau

After the recent incidents in a Berlin nursing home, allegations are again being made against the operator Domicil. Another facility owned by the operator also attracted negative attention. By Christina Fee Möbus and Andrea Everwien

When her mother moved into a Domicil senior care home in Lichterfelde-West almost a year ago, Jessika Sahr-Plut was happy: a friendly, light yellow building. Clean and well maintained from the outside. A park-like garden in the inner courtyard invited you to linger.

The discussions that the relatives had with the employees on site in advance were also “nice”. After her mother’s health deteriorated following a hospital stay and rehabilitation, Sahr-Plut was “desperately” looking for accommodation. “On the whole, everything made a great impression,” says the 55-year-old.

No medication and moldy bread

But the first good impression didn’t last long. Jessica Sahr-Plut increasingly had the feeling that her 76-year-old mother was being neglected in the facility. She repeatedly noticed greasy hair, dirty fingernails and strong body odor. At times she was ashamed of her family member, says the woman from Berlin-Schöneberg. The shame was gradually followed by worry.

Jessika Sahr-Plut reports shocking conditions. About medication that was not administered to her mother, who suffered from dementia, for several days and contrary to the doctor’s instructions. About moldy bread at dinner. And about a medical emergency in which her mother apparently waited in vain for help for an extended period of time while lying in her own vomit.

Jessika Sahr-Plut is afraid for her mother. She is plagued by the guilty conscience that, as a working woman with two children, she cannot care for her mother herself. “I have no other choice, I wouldn’t know how to care for her. Care places are rare. I had a lot of trouble finding something.” She feels bad and helpless.

Domicil: Required skilled worker quota “consistently met”

Jessika Sahr-Plut says she repeatedly tried to point out deficiencies. She spoke to the nurses, doctors and the local home management. Apologies followed. From Jessika Sahr-Plut’s perspective, nothing has changed for the better yet.

Their accounts could not be independently verified. The rbb asked the Domicil group about this. Although she was unable to provide any information about the specific allegations at short notice, she referred to the in-house quality management and stated in writing: “…[Wir möchten festhalten]that the alleged incidents you describe concern individual misconduct and contradict our values ​​and our professional standards when dealing with the people entrusted to us. (…). [Wir stellen aktuell fest]that the regulatory skilled worker quota was consistently met in the first quarter of 2024. Although temporary work was also used, its use is currently declining due to new hires.”

Domicil has been in the headlines for days

Domicil had recently made the headlines: the police and fire brigade had arrived because a facility in Berlin-Lichtenberg lacked the necessary nursing staff for the night. There was apparently a death at the Lichtenberg facility that same night. The Berlin public prosecutor’s office is investigating unknown persons on suspicion of negligent homicide. A week after the incidents, Domicil replaced the local home and care service management.

According to the Residential Participation Staff Ordinance, at least one nursing professional must be present in fully inpatient care facilities at all times of the day and night. This is what the home supervision at the Berlin State Office for Health and Social Affairs wrote at the request of the rbb. The authority writes that no violation of legal requirements was found in the Domicil-Home Lichterfelde-West in 2023.

However, the control authority repeatedly documented isolated deficiencies in the last test reports: For example, a test report from October 2023 states: “The care and support of several residents was not tailored to the individual needs.” According to the report, the facility management was then advised on how they could correct the deficiencies. At the same time, the home inspectorate received several complaints about this facility operated by Domicil. The authorities therefore checked on site several times.

Complaints in every second facility

According to the home inspectorate, the Domicil Group operates a total of 16 facilities in the city – half of these facilities had an increased number of complaints to the home inspector. This was for various reasons, but they included, among other things, references to “deficits in nursing care, wound care and medication administration as well as complaints about a high proportion of leasing staff.”

There are fundamentally big differences between care facilities, says Mara Rick from the Berlin advice center “Nurse in Need”: “It also has a lot to do with the culture in the facility and the attitude of the managers.” If employees saw that there were no sanctions for misconduct, it could happen that they would act the same way next time.

“Nursing Care” advises intensive advice

Martina Meyer also has differences [Name von der Redaktion geändert] perceived. She placed her 81-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia and has care level four, in a home run by the Domicil Group in Berlin-Reinickendorf after she had bad experiences with another facility. Now she is very satisfied: “There is not such a high staff turnover, the nurses know what my mother needs. The team knows each other and has been working together for years. I think that is an important quality feature.” Care in need therefore advises you to be very well informed in advance and to use advice centers if a relative has to move into an inpatient care facility.

Jessika Sahr-Plut, whose mother lives in the Domicil senior citizens’ residence Lichterfelde-West, is currently not thinking about moving home for her mother. She has two children and works and is therefore dependent on care. A dilemma, as Sahr-Plut says. “On the one hand, I am someone who wants to bring about a solution. And on the other hand, in the situation, I always worry that my mother will be disadvantaged because of what I said.” The Berliner now hopes that she can improve her mother’s living conditions through further discussions with the house management.

Broadcast: Inforadio, April 29, 2024, 6:30 a.m

Contribution by Christina Fee Möbus and Andrea Everwien

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